NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Cemeteries as State Significant Development

We have made changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Planning Systems) 2021 (Planning Systems SEPP). These changes allow new and expanded large-scale cemeteries of at least 5,000 new interment sites to be assessed as State Significant Development (SSD). These changes take effect from 6 May 2022.

This means that larger cemetery development proposals are now recognised in the same way as other key social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, through the SSD assessment pathway.

Larger-scale cemeteries have the potential to make a substantial contribution to resolving the shortage of burial space in Greater Sydney. The SSD pathway will provide a clear and consistent assessment and decision-making process to help deliver burial space for future generations.

Why focus on cemeteries?

There is a finite amount of space remaining in existing cemeteries, particularly within Greater Sydney. The unmet demand for burial space is forecast to continue to grow, resulting in a critical shortage requiring immediate action.

The NSW Government commissioned a comprehensive review of the cemeteries and crematoria sector which identified a forecast shortage or burial space. The review also identified an opportunity for the NSW planning system to assist in the timely delivery of new cemetery development by recommending that cemeteries be assessed as SSD.

What are the changes?

New and expanded larger-scale cemeteries seeking at least 5,000 new interment sites will now be assessed as SSD.

Schedule 1 of the Planning Systems SEPP has been amended to enable this change to the assessment process. The SSD pathway is commonly used to assess development for a range of types of key social infrastructure and will provide a consistent approach to the assessment of larger cemetery proposals across Greater Sydney and NSW.

An Explanation of Intended Effect was exhibited from 12 October until 24 November 2021 and 17 submissions were received.

Thank you to everyone who had their say. All submissions have been carefully reviewed and have informed refinements to the final amendment.

A submissions report has been prepared that summarises the key issues raised and the department’s response.

More information

For more information about the amendment, you can email SystemsProductivity.Policy@planning.nsw.gov.au

Page last updated: 06/03/2023